PORT Macquarie-Hastings Council is set to consider the need to seek an extra $30 million in funding, on top of the $60 million already allocated, for the duplication of Ocean Drive.
The recommendation to seek Federal government support will go to Wednesday night's (May 20) council meeting.
A council report on the project identifies a funding gap risk of $30 million now that Transport for NSW (TfNSW) has opted out of delivering the regional road project. The State government's funding commitment is capped at $60 million.
The Ocean Drive duplication is a key project initiated with a State government special grant of $10 million following an election commitment in 2011.
As a regional road, TfNSW and council partnered through a joint steering group to develop and govern the project which nine years on is now substantially 'shovel-ready', according to council.
A further $50 million was granted by the State government following an election commitment in 2019 bringing its total contribution to $60 million. A further $1.8 million has already provided for the design and pre-construction works, including the completion of the detailed business case.
"The funding commitment didn't include any escalation amounts to account for inflation or price increases due to delivery in future years," a report to council states.
"The total project out-turn cost with an escalation factor and accounting for $2 million of design and preconstruction costs is $73.2 million. This has therefore left an initial funding gap of $7.7 million."
TfNSW reviewed the project in 2019 to see if it could be internally delivered. This review, applying TfNSW's construction approach, has further projected the construction cost estimate to between $81 million and $95 million, council says.
"TfNSW is no longer interested in delivering this project and any funding gap risk needs to be covered by council," the report says.
It will be recommended the mayor and council's general manager commence detailed discussions with the Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan and the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, to secure the required additional funding to commence the project, noting its significance as an economic stimulus priority in the region's COVID-19 recovery.
Councillors will also consider a request that Transport for NSW re-establish the joint steering group with council to oversee and manage the project should additional funding be secured and the construction phase commences; and investigate the possibility of increasing council's funding commitment through borrowings or other relevant sources.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's May meeting commences at 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 20 and will be live-streamed via council's YouTube channel.